Nelson Cruz met with Ron Washington at about 2 p.m. today, and the Texas Rangers manager had one question for his once suspended slugger – are you loose?
“I said, ‘Yes, I’m loose,’” Cruz said. “Everyone is making sure I’m loose. It’s going to be an exciting moment for me."
Cruz is back in the Rangers lineup for their most important game tonight, as they are set to face the Rays in a tiebreaking game for the second wild card in the American League.
Cruz, who accepted a 50-game suspension for his use of performance-enhancing drugs in the Biogenesis of America scandal that ended after Sunday’s game, is batting sixth as the designated hitter.
At the time of his suspension, Cruz led the Rangers in home runs and RBIs. He has continued working out and played in instructional-league games at the Rangers’ facility in Arizona to stay ready for this type of situation.
“I feel good, I feel really confident,” Cruz said. “I’ve been out a long time preparing for this so I should be ready.
“I’m going to enjoy this moment. Happy to be back, happy to be with my teammates. It’s a blessing to see the reception they gave me when I came to the clubhouse.”
Cruz has a history of success against Rays starter David Price, going 6 for 12 with two homers in the regular season and 9 for 21 with three homers in the regular season and playoffs.
Cruz said he can’t explain his success against the Price, other than that there are certain pitchers you fare better against.
Cruz went on to talk about having a chance to redeem himself after being suspended for using PEDs, and also said he hopes to spread his message to more minor leaguers throughout the game.
“Know who to trust,” Cruz said of what he’s been telling younger players. “Hopefully I can give my message to more kids. I can help more kids not make the same mistake that I made.”-- Drew Davison